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Bible Commentaries

Dr. Constable's Expository Notes

2 Timothy

- 2 Timothy

by Thomas Constable

Introduction

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND

Following his release from house arrest in Rome in A.D. 62, Paul resumed his itinerant ministry in the Mediterranean world. Writing to Titus from somewhere in Macedonia, probably between A.D. 62 and 66, he said that he planned to visit Nicapolis (Tit_3:12). Assuming that he did visit Nicapolis, Paul went from there to Rome, evidently indirectly. His visit to Troas (2Ti_4:13) probably took place shortly before he wrote 2 Timothy. It may be that Paul’s arrest required his leaving his cloak, books, and parchments there, but that is only speculation. In any case, Paul ended up in Rome as a prisoner again (2Ti_2:9). He had already had his initial hearing and was awaiting trial when he wrote this epistle (2Ti_4:16). He believed that the Roman authorities would execute him soon (2Ti_4:6).

Timothy seems to have remained at Ephesus for some time following his reception of Paul’s first epistle to him and then, presumably, Paul’s personal visit of him there (1Ti_3:14). He was evidently in Ephesus when Paul wrote this second epistle to him (2Ti_1:16-18; 2Ti_4:14 cf. 1Ti_1:20; 2Ti_4:19).

Ever since Rome had burned in July of A.D. 64 and Nero had blamed the Christians, it had become dangerous to be a Christian. It was also dangerous to have contact with leaders of the church such as Paul. [Note: See D. Edmond Hiebert, Second Timothy, p. 8.] Consequently many believers, including some of Paul’s coworkers, had chosen to seek a much lower profile and become less aggressive in their ministries. Timothy faced temptation to do the same. Paul wrote this epistle to urge him to remain faithful to his calling and loyal to his father in the faith. Timothy needed to stand shoulder to shoulder with Paul and the other believers and to continue to "preach the Word" as he had done.

Paul probably wrote 2 Timothy in the fall of A.D. 67. [Note: See Donald A. Carson and Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, p. 578.] There are two reasons for this date. According to early church tradition Paul suffered execution shortly before Nero committed suicide in June of A.D. 68. Second, Paul penned this last of his canonical epistles fairly near the time of his execution, though before the winter of A.D. 67-68 (2Ti_4:21).

"2 Timothy is unlike either 1 Timothy or Titus. It is an intensely personal letter written to encourage Timothy in his difficult task and to ask him to come to Rome. Since it was written to one of Paul’s best friends who knew his theology, and not to a church who did not know his theology (Titus) or to a church who knew his theology but was choosing to ignore it (1 Timothy), one is not surprised if 2 Timothy does not sound like other letters. It was not intended to be a theological treatise." [Note: William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, p. lxxvii.]

OUTLINE

I.    Salutation 2Ti_1:1-2

II.    Thanksgiving for faithful fellow workers 2Ti_1:3-18

A.    Timothy’s past faithfulness 2Ti_1:3-7

B.    Charges to remain loyal 2Ti_1:8-14

1.    Exhortation to be courageous 2Ti_1:8-12

2.    Exhortation to guard the gospel 2Ti_1:13-14

C.    Examples of faithful and unfaithful service 2Ti_1:15-18

III.    Exhortations to persevere ch. 2

A.    Charge to endure hardship 2Ti_2:1-13

1.    Timothy’s duty 2Ti_2:1-7

2.    The examples of Jesus and Paul 2Ti_2:8-10

3.    A popular saying 2Ti_2:11-13

B.    Charge to remain faithful 2Ti_2:14-26

1.    Faithfulness in public ministry 2Ti_2:14-18

2.    Faithfulness in personal life 2Ti_2:19-21

3.    Summary applications 2Ti_2:22-26

IV.    Directions concerning the last days 2Ti_3:1 to 2Ti_4:8

A.    Characteristics of the last days 2Ti_3:1-13

1.    Evidences of faithlessness 2Ti_3:1-7

2.    Negative and positive illustrations 2Ti_3:8-13

B.    Conduct in the last days 2Ti_3:14 to 2Ti_4:5

1.    Adherence to the truth 2Ti_3:14-17

2.    Proclamation of the truth 2Ti_4:1-5

C.    Paul’s role in the last days 2Ti_4:6-8

V.    Concluding personal instructions and information 2Ti_4:9-22

A.    Fellow workers and an opponent 2Ti_4:9-15

B.    Paul’s preliminary hearing in court 2Ti_4:16-18

C.    Additional greetings and instructions 2Ti_4:19-21

D.    Benediction 2Ti_4:22

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